Singapore GE2020: 5 unexpected moves

PHOTOS: TIMOTHY DAVID, LIANHE ZAOBAO, MARK CHEONG, SHINTARO TAY

A few unexpected slates emerged on Nomination Day yesterday when parties switched their line-ups

1. DPM HENG SWEE KEAT MOVES TO HELM PAP'S EAST COAST GRC TEAM

The first sign something was afoot at East Coast GRC came at 11am, when People's Action Party candidates Maliki Osman, Tan Kiat How, Cheryl Chan and Jessica Tan strode into the St Anthony's Canossian Primary School nomination centre. No anchor minister was in sight.

With the retirement of former frontbencher Lim Swee Say, there had been a question mark over who would lead the PAP team.

The answer came 25 minutes later when Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat was spotted at the nomination centre.

As an incumbent MP for Tampines GRC, he should have been at the Poi Ching School nomination centre. It soon became clear that Mr Heng was going to lead the East Coast team.

The PAP slate will stand against a Workers' Party team comprising Mr Kenneth Foo, Mr Abdul Shariff Aboo Kassim, Mr Terence Tan, Mr Dylan Ng and Ms Nicole Seah.

The Tampines team will be anchored by Environment and Water Resources Minister Masagos Zulkifli, with Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Koh Poh Koon moving from Ang Mo Kio GRC.

2. FIRST WOMAN GENERAL GAN SIOW HUANG IN MARYMOUNT SMC


PHOTOS: TIMOTHY DAVID, LIANHE ZAOBAO, MARK CHEONG, SHINTARO TAY

Pundits had thought PAP new face Gan Siow Huang would be fielded in Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC where she had been seen walking the ground.

But in a twist, she submitted papers for Marymount, a new constituency carved out of that GRC.

 

The former air force brigadier-general, who is Singapore's first woman general, will take on the Progress Singapore Party's Dr Ang Yong Guan, a psychiatrist.

Dr Ang stood in the 2011 General Election as a Singapore Democratic Party candidate in Holland-Bukit Timah GRC, and in 2015 under the banner of the Singaporeans First party in Tanjong Pagar GRC.

3. SDP'S PAUL TAMBYAH CONTESTING BUKIT PANJANG SMC 


PHOTOS: TIMOTHY DAVID, LIANHE ZAOBAO, MARK CHEONG, SHINTARO TAY

Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) chairman Paul Tambyah is being fielded in Bukit Panjang SMC, following a last-minute tactical switch by the party.

He will face the PAP's Mr Liang Eng Hwa, an incumbent MP for neighbouring Holland-Bukit Timah GRC. Mr Liang is replacing the retiring Dr Teo Ho Pin.

 

Prof Tambyah, a medical professor at the National University of Singapore, was widely expected to anchor the SDP's Holland-Bukit Timah GRC team.

In fact, the SDP's Khung Wai Yeen, who contested Bukit Panjang in 2015, had been walking the ground there as recently as Monday, He moved to Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC instead.

4. DESMOND LEE MOVES FROM JURONG TO WEST COAST


PHOTOS: TIMOTHY DAVID, LIANHE ZAOBAO, MARK CHEONG, SHINTARO TAY

Minister for Social and Family Development Desmond Lee, an incumbent MP for Jurong GRC, is being fielded in West Coast GRC, beefing up the PAP team that will face off against the Progress Singapore Party (PSP) team led by former PAP MP Tan Cheng Bock.

 

Mr Lee is part of a team that includes Minister for Communications and Information S. Iswaran, two-term MP Foo Mee Har, Mr Ang Wei Neng - who also moved from Jurong GRC - and new face Rachel Ong.

Dr Tan is heading what is considered PSP's A-team, which includes party assistant secretary-general Leong Mun Wai, founder of a venture capital firm; and party vice-chairman Hazel Poa, a former secretary-general of the National Solidarity Party.

5. PSP'S LEE HSIEN YANG NOT CONTESTING ELECTION 


PHOTOS: TIMOTHY DAVID, LIANHE ZAOBAO, MARK CHEONG, SHINTARO TAY

He had recently announced that he was a member of PSP, had been on a walkabout in Tanjong Pagar GRC and, yesterday morning, mingled with party members before nominations opened.

But Mr Lee Hsien Yang will not be contesting the election.

 

On Facebook later, the brother of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said: "I have chosen not to stand for political office because I believe Singapore does not need another Lee."

PSP's Dr Tan, speaking after nominations closed, told reporters he never asked Mr Lee to run as a candidate.

"I wanted him to be as neutral as possible," said Dr Tan. He also denied having teased voters with the possibility of a Lee Hsien Yang candidacy, saying: "I never tease. If the voters feel teased, it's their problem."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 01, 2020, with the headline '5 unexpected moves'. Print Edition | Subscribe